Campaign signs advertising candidates at the 2021 Meet the Candidates event held on July 22 in Orem. Photo by Kate Hickman.

Every two years, cities in Utah County hold municipal elections for their respective City Councils. Orem’s municipal primary elections will take place Aug. 10 with the general election on Nov. 2. Provo’s municipal elections will occur on the same dates; for more information on Provo’s elections, see this article. One can check voter registration, track ballots or find more information through Vote.Utah.gov

The Orem City Council consists of a mayor and six council members who are elected at large and serve staggered, four-year terms. According to Orem.org, “The city of Orem has a Manager/Council form of government which allows for a full-time City Manager and a part-time Mayor.” While the mayor is an elected official whose job is to represent voters, a city manager is hired to act as the chief administrative and executive officer. They work outside of the political realm — submitting policies, plans and programs to the Council concerning the city’s development and needs. 

This year there are four mayoral candidates and ten candidates for City Council. Their contact information and campaign details are listed here, and websites or candidate interviews for the relative candidates are linked below.

Orem Mayoral Candidates

  • Jim Evans

Evans has experience working in local government, as he was selected to fill in as mayor after Mayor Jerry Washburn passed away in 2011. According to his website, Evans priorities as mayor will include listening to residents, maintaining Orem’s high quality of life, keeping Orem safe and protecting neighborhoods. 

  • Archie A. Williams III

Williams is associated with the Democratic Party, and did not record a candidate interview. To find out more about his campaign, reach out to [email protected]

  • Haysam Z. Sakar

Sakar has a background in business and public service. He said he is passionate about communication between residents and the city, and plans to ensure that Orem is a “citizen-focused city.” He prioritizes business owners and citizen involvement. For more information, see his candidate interview.

  • David A. Young

Young has a background in business and investing. According to the campaign website, his priorities include budgeting with the taxpayer in mind, supporting first responders, maintaining Orem neighborhoods with less high-density housing, reducing traffic and helping small businesses. 

Orem City Council Candidates

On July 22, the Orem Neighborhoods Association hosted a “Meet the Candidates” event to provide community members with the opportunity to hear from candidates and pose questions about important issues. The recurring issues included high-density housing, improving infrastructure to reduce traffic, growth and development, citizen-focused government, and water conservation. Several interesting and inventive solutions to these issues were posed. 

The candidates represent a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives, including women of color and immigrants. Several candidates, such as Nichelle Jensen and Shaunte Ruiz Zundel, intend to represent young families and under-privileged populations. 

Jensen wants to increase the quality and number of parks throughout Orem, and encourage more pedestrian- and bike-friendly transportation infrastructure. This plan addresses traffic and housing for the benefit of young families. Jensen said, “I’m interested in bringing the people of Orem together. There is a lot of diversity in Orem.”

Tom Macdonald, who contributed to the State Street Corridor Master Plan, aims to reduce traffic and address high-density housing while supporting student success, retention, and graduation rates at UVU. When discussing the relevance of these endeavors moving forward, Macdonald stated, “a plan is both a noun and a verb … it must change.”

Interviews covering priorities and plans for each of the candidates can be found on Orem City’s YouTube channel under the 2021 City Council and Mayoral Candidates playlist. Orem residents who are registered to vote can drop off their mail-in ballot in the ballot collection boxes at the Orem City Center, located at 56 N. State St. on the north and south ends of the building.

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